Boston City Council Meeting - March 1st, 2017

Reprecincting: We voted on and unanimously passed a home rule petition co-authored by Councilors Linehan and Wu to add additional polling locations to the City’s largest precincts. There is a great disparity in the population sizes of registered voters amongst the City’s precincts, which, in some areas, leads to issues surrounding voter access. This home rule petition would allow the largest precincts to be subdivided before the upcoming municipal elections and would not require changes to political district lines or ward lines. For the proposed changes to go into effect before the September 2017 Preliminary election, the state legislature would have to approve them by no later than June.

Climate Change: We voted on and unanimously passed an order authorizing the City of Boston Environment Department to accept and expend a grant from the Barr Foundation to fund a set of community resilience strategies recommended by the Boston Green Ribbon Commission to address climate risk. East Boston and Charlestown would likely be two of the first areas in the city significantly affected by climate change and we have launched initiatives to be more eco-friendly. This order provides an opportunity for some of the positive things that we have been doing to be applied city-wide, which is a necessary step in our fight to protect our planet.

Boston Art Commission: We voted on and unanimously passed a home rule petition to give the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) a seat on the Boston Art Commission.

Funding for Universal Pre-K: We voted on and unanimously passed a home rule petition to use the funds generated by sightseeing tour and car rental surcharges to pay for Universal Pre-K for all four year olds in Boston. The revenue coming in from these surcharges currently goes to the Boston Convention Center and Exhibition Fund and this often generates a surplus. Plans to expand the Convention Center are currently on hold and this home rule petition would redirect the revenue to the City’s general fund to help better serve our city’s future.

Boston Garden Economic Development Project: We voted on and unanimously passed an order to approve the application of Podium Developer LLC to participate in the Commonwealth’s “I-Cubed” Program relating to the Boston Garden Economic Development Project. Infrastructure improvements as a result of the project would include major renovations to North Station, including connecting the commuter rail and subway entrances, covered walkways for pedestrians, and other changes. The project would also include the construction of a supermarket, which would meet a need in the neighborhood.

Boston Police Department Cadet Program: Councilors Campbell and Linehan filed a hearing order to discuss the implementation of a Boston Fire Department cadet program. A cadet program would help ensure a force of firefighters more reflective of the racial and socioeconomic diversity of the City of Boston. If a cadet program were to be implemented, it would likely be modeled after the recently reinstated Boston Police cadet program and would give cadet program graduates the same level of preference as veterans receive. This is not an attempt to pit veterans against Boston residents or communities of color, but an attempt to strengthen our law enforcement agencies through a data-driven approach. I have signed on in support of this order.

White Ribbon Day: At the end of the meeting, Councilor Pressley led us in taking a pledge to be part of the solution in combating violence against women and to stand as part of the world-wide White Ribbon Day movement.